On Thursday, a candlelight vigil was held by a group of activists and journalists outside the White House in Washington, D.C. in memory of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed by gunfire while covering an Israeli military raid on May 11 of last year.
The vigil, organized by the Palestinian Youth Movement and the Museum of the Palestinian People, was attended by many activists and Abu Akleh’s friends as well as colleagues from Al Jazeera, who demanded justice and accountability for her.
Abu Akleh, a senior Al Jazeera journalist widely respected for her extensive coverage of Palestine and Israel, was shot in the head while covering an Israeli military raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank city of Hebron. She was wearing a blue vest marked “PRESS” and a helmet.
Laila Al-Arian, an executive producer at Al Jazeera English, told Anadolu during the vigil that it is important for anyone who cares about press freedom to “push for justice and accountability” in Abu Akleh’s case.
“It has already been one year since Shireen was shot to death, covering a military raid in Jenin and doing her job. And nobody has been charged. Nobody has been arrested,” she said. “We don’t even know the name of the soldier who killed her.”
She said the aim of the vigil in front of the White House is to “send a message loud and clear to the Biden administration that they need to take a much tougher stance on this case.”
“They need to pressure the Israelis to be much more transparent about this case,” she said, while also calling on the Biden administration to push for accountability in the killing of her colleague.
Aline Hanna, who said Abu Akleh was her best friend, told Anadolu that the main message of the vigil is “seeking justice for Shireen.”
“It’s been a year, and there have been so many investigations that were conducted. But unfortunately, no actual action was taken,” she said, demanding justice and accountability for Shireen.
She said she and Shireen were friends for many years.
“It has been heartbreaking to witness what happened, the injustice that has happened to her and continues to happen to all the Palestinians,” she added.